This Articles Sleepers Tip:
Adjustments made after the season begins are paramount to a winning season in fantasy football. Injuries in the NFL game along with bye weeks make weekly free agent add drops a must to any successful season. Unfortunately, in fantasy football, most true sleepers will not show themselves in the preseason, but will become recognizable as injuries open up unexpected starting positions.
Introduction to Sleepers:
Fantasy football team owners love sleepers. Finding the undervalued player can make you a hero and pad your wallet.
Sleepers that we project to make an impact in 2014: (In no particular order)
QB Robert Griffin III, WSH.
Griffin Struggled terribly last year coming off of an ACL tear. He had Pierre Garcon as his primary target, an aging Santana Moss that looked old, and only 10 games of the teams #1 tight end, Jordan Reed. This year he has a healthy Reed to go along with free agent acquisitions DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, rated 2nd and 3rd on their depth charts. With the experiment of turning Griffin into a pocket quarterback a complete failure. And a new coach in Jay Gruden, look at RG3 to start running again, and throwing downfield to a top shelf receiver corp. The result will be top 10 QB numbers.
RB Toby Gerhart, Jac.
In his 4 year backup career, Gerhart has had 671 rushes, 3522 yards, 5.2 yards per carry, and 44 touchdowns. That is not at all bad for a career backup. Last year, he played behind work horse Adrian Peterson and did not get the ball much or take many hits. This year, he should hold off Jordan Todman and Storm Johnson and solidify himself as the lead back in Jacksonville. Chad Henne is not going to make anyone forget about Dan Marino and we expect Gerhart to get plenty of runs. He can be considered an adequate #2 running back and a strong #3 on your fantasy team as long as he doesn’t fall apart in the preseason.
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG.
Rashad Jennings was signed to be the #1 running back from the Raiders. Last year, he averaged 4.5 yards per carry and ran for 753 yards. His new QB, Eli Manning, loves to throw to RB’s and his 293 catching yards should show a nice increase. ESPN rates the 2013 NFL teams and lists the NFC East defenses as Washington #18, Philadelphia #29 and Dallas #32. Against this underwhelming group Jennings should have 6 easy games right off the bat. This year, with the Giants offensive line protecting him, Jennings should provide top 10 running back stats.
RB Trent Richardson, IND.
After two games last season, Trent Richardson was traded to the Colts and became an immediate fantasy must have. By end of season, he averaged 3.0 yards per carry, had 563 rushing yards, 316 catching yards and he was an overwhelming disappointment. Richardson’s sophomore slump was so bad he has to beat out Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard just to earn his second chance to start in 2014. Given his ability to catch the ball, and expecting the Colts offensive line to be less putrid in opening up lanes, it is hard to believe he won’t beat out those two and have a very respectable season.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN.
With Peyton Manning at the helm, the top two wide-outs in Denver are Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas. Barring injury, that will not change in 2014. Coming in as the #3 wide out is Sanders. That situation might not be so good for some, but with Manning a vertical monster and guaranteed to spread the ball around, with a running back situation that cannot get out of its own way, and Sanders a speedster sure to get some long downfield plays, you have to like him right there with a lot of #2’s.
WR Kenny Stills, NO.
The NFL's best QB rating when throwing to a single wide receiver last season was Drew Brees to Kenny Stills (139.3). Unfortunately, Stills only got 32 catches last year behind #1 Marques Colston, #2 Lance Moore, and sharing time at #3 with Devery Henderson. Last year, Stills led the NFL in yards per catch with 20, and had a very respectable five TD’s when considered against his low catches. This year, following the release of Moore, he goes into the season as the #2 wide out and you should expect him to be a solid deep threat- which Brees will find often.
WR Jarrett Boykin, GB.
The best “sleeper” wide outs are those that are lower on the depth charts, but have great quarterbacks. This year, Boykin gets back for a full season with the heart and soul of Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers. He will be the #3 receiver behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. But when both were injured last season, Boykin stepped in nicely. He caught 49 with only 82 targets and picked up 681 yards and 3 TD’s. Rodgers loves to spread the ball around, and you damn well better catch it when he throws it to you. If Boykin can stay close to that 59% catch rate Rodgers will reward him this year with a significant increase in targets and those yards will pile up. That said, unless he starts getting end zone play, he will only warrant a late round pick.
WR Aaron Dobson, NE.
Dobson goes into the season as the #4 wide receiver. The #1 is one of the best wideouts in the NFL, Julio Edelman. The #2 is Danny Amendola and the #3 is Kenbrell Thompkins. So Dobson has a tough road just to get enough targets to be a serious sleeper candidate. But similarly to Brees and Rodgers, Brady loves to throw the ball around. Last year, Dobson pulled in 37 of 72, a respectable 52% with 2 TD’s. While Edelman is going to get the most targets, Dobson does have the opportunity to catch Brady’s eye and get the targets he needs to prove a viable talent. Consider him late.
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN.
The new offensive coordinator for the Vikings, Norv Turner, has coached Antonio Gates, Vernon Davis, and most recently Jordan Cameron. The guy knows how to use a tight end as a weapon. At the same time, with Matt Cassell and Chris Ponder at QB, the Vikings could be looking at another “hand the ball to Adrien Peterson” year of offense. Clearly, they will be looking to draft for a rookie QB to take the helm this year. Rookie QB’s are rarely given many long downfield vertical plays, they get confused by defenses often, and that too could help Rudolph get targets. Bottom line, Rudolph is probably not as good as 2012, and he sure is not as bad as 2013. Once the top TE are off the board, don’t be scared to grab him as he will not get the respect he deserves.
We hope this article helps you in your draft and you check out the FSRU new leagues on our Draft Dates Page and join a league today.